Sport Fishing - - GEAR GUIDE -

The first ev­i­dence of leather gar­ments can be dated back about 40,000 years; cot­ton cloth­ing ap­peared in In­dia at around 5,000 B.C.; and the ear­li­est proof of silk cloth­ing dates back to about the same mil­len­nium in Ja­pan. In all of these times, and ev­ery day since, sweaty an­glers have wished for cooler cloth­ing.

There’s not a per­son read­ing this who hasn’t felt a trickle of sweat run­ning down his or her brow as the sun rose high in the sky and the morn­ing’s com­fort­able cloth­ing sud­denly be­came overly hot. There’s not one an­gler among us who hasn’t stripped down to the bare ne­ces­si­ties in a quest for cooler cast­ing. And there’s not one set of eyes pass­ing across these pages that hasn’t been stung by sweat while send­ing lures aloft.

To­day, how­ever, we have clothes that can es­sen­tially act as per­sonal air-con­di­tion­ing.


You’ve prob­a­bly heard of evap­o­ra­tive cooling, which is why sweat­ing or soak­ing your­self down with water has a cooling ef­fect. As the water evap­o­rates and turns into gas, it re­leases la­tent heat, and when the gas leaves the sur­face of your skin, it takes that heat with it. An easy way of un­der­stand­ing the process is to think of what hap­pens when you boil water on the stove. Even if you turn up the heat to 500 de­grees, the boil­ing water’s tem­per­a­ture will re­main 212 de­grees be­cause as the water boils and evap­o­rates, la­tent heat in that water gets re­leased into the at­mos­phere. Sim­i­larly, the water evap­o­rat­ing from your skin takes heat away with it.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween cloth­ing pro­duced just a cou­ple of decades ago and cloth­ing made to­day is that tex­tile manufacturers have learned how to turbo-boost the evap­o­ra­tive cooling ef­fect. True, for many years manufacturers have been pro­duc­ing vented cloth­ing that as­sisted in the process by in­creas­ing air­flow. And they’re still do­ing so to­day. But some modern high­tech fish­ing shirts can ac­tu­ally in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of evap­o­ra­tive cooling via the fibers and weaves from which they’re crafted.

Ac­cord­ing to AFTCO creative mar­ket­ing man­ager Matt Florentino, the Drire­lease Geo Cool fabric used in shirts such as AFTCO’s Bar­racuda are de­signed specif­i­cally to help ab­sorb and dis­si­pate heat to keep you cool, dry, and com­fort­able as you fish.

What ex­actly is this “Drire­lease Geo Cool” fabric? It in­cludes a blend of 85 to 95 per­cent syn­thetic hy­dropho­bic fibers, mixed with hy­drophilic fibers. The hy­dropho­bic fibers re­pel water, while the hy­drophilic fibers ab­sorb it. Wo­ven to­gether, they pull mois­ture away from your body and then push it out through the ex­te­rior of the fabric. In this way, they aid and en­hance the evap­o­ra­tive cooling ef­fect. Fab­rics that are en­gi­neered to im­prove your own body’s cooling ef­fi­ciency in this way are com­monly called “mois­ture-wick­ing.”

Many of the manufacturers I spoke with con­sider wick­ing an im­por­tant piece of the per­for­mance-cloth­ing puz­zle. Simms fish­ing-prod­ucts com­mu­nity spe­cial­ist John Fra­zier says that the com­pany’s shirts uti­lize Cool­core fab­rics, which “man­age heat and mois­ture through reg­u­lated evap­o­ra­tion.” Bluefin’s Eros Cat­ta­neo says the Sec­ond Skin So­lar tee is the ideal tech­ni­cal tee for a long day un­der the sun be­cause it has both mois­turewick­ing prop­er­ties and a vented armpit mesh that keeps the air flow­ing.


Cat­ta­neo’s men­tion of vented mesh as well as wick­ing ma­te­rial is im­por­tant to note be­cause the use of vent­ing, while

not quite as high-tech, is still one of the main ways manufacturers try to cre­ate cooler cloth­ing. But the newer fab­rics aren’t al­ways best for weav­ing more­for­mal-look­ing col­lared shirts. So if you pre­fer a shirt that you can wear when go­ing di­rectly from the cock­pit to the club, a more tra­di­tional weave is prob­a­bly in your fu­ture.

“The look of an AFTCO wo­ven shirt can be the de­cid­ing fac­tor if you want it to do dou­ble-duty, off the water for a night out or any other sce­nario that might re­quire a col­lared shirt,” Florentino points out. And although they might not be quite as ad­vanced in the tech­ni­cal cooling depart­ment, these slightly more-for­mal styles can still uti­lize im­proved air­flow to keep the tem­per­a­ture down.

There are ex­cep­tions, such as Columbia Sportswear’s So­lar Shade Zero ¼ zip, which has cooling fab­rics (Columbia calls its ver­sion Om­niFreeze Zero) but also re­tains a per­for­mance-knit-shirt ap­pear­ance. At $75, it’s a com­pet­i­tive op­tion com­pared with many of the other shirts with cooling fea­tures; how­ever, this shirt also has some ad­di­tional tech to of­fer. “Our Omni-Shade Sun De­flec­tor tech­nol­ogy ap­plies thou­sands of tiny

white ti­ta­nium-diox­ide dots to the fabric to de­flect the sun’s rays and to pro­tect against harm­ful UVA and UVB rays,” ex­plains Columbia PFG mar­ket­ing man­ager Brent Brauner.

This might be im­por­tant not just for com­fort, but also for safety. In fact, ac­cord­ing to the ex­perts, wear­ing a shirt that’s sun-pro­tec­tive is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant be­cause it’s shield­ing parts of your body that don’t nor­mally get cov­ered by sun­tan lo­tion.

“It’s im­por­tant to choose UPF-rated cloth­ing,” says Lisa Quale, se­nior health ed­u­ca­tor of the Skin Can­cer In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Ari­zona Can­cer Cen­ter. The UPF rat­ing sys­tem, which is rel­a­tively new, de­scribes the amount of UV ra­di­a­tion a fabric blocks, and is stan­dard­ized by the FTC.

“Any­thing 30 or above is great,” Quale ex­plains. “It means the fabric gives about 97 per­cent UV pro­tec­tion. A UPF of 50 in­creases that to a bit more than 98 per­cent, so if you’ll be out­side all day, it’s a good choice.” She also notes that a fabric’s UPF rat­ing can be af­fected by some com­mon fish­ing and boat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. “Water can pull the fab­rics apart, cre­at­ing big­ger holes for the UV ra­di­a­tion to get through,” she says. “UPF cloth­ing is gen­er­ally made of a very tight weave and lightweight fabric, and is some­times water-re­sis­tant, so it’s more re­silient. But get­ting a fabric wet is al­most al­ways go­ing to in­crease the amount of UV ra­di­a­tion that can pass through the gar­ment.”

In other words, the de­cid­edly lowtech method of stay­ing cool by dump­ing a bucket of water over your head while wear­ing a cot­ton tee might not only be less ef­fec­tive than choos­ing high-tech cool cloth­ing in the first place, it could also be down­right haz­ardous to your health. In fact, the rea­sons for arm­ing your­self with to­day’s cool cloth­ing are so sim­ple, even a 40,000-year-old cave­man would get it.

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Above: Columbia So­lar Shade Zero ¼ Zip uses tiny ZKLWH WLWDQLXP GRWV WR GHŴHFW WKH VXQōV UD\V 7KH So­lar Shade Zero (right) of­fers cooling tech­nol­ogy in a col­lared shirt with zip­pered pock­ets.

BACK IN THE DAY: An­glers looked for shirts that didn’t hold in heat; new tech now has them wear­ing shirts that ac­tu­ally make an­glers cooler.

Fish Hip­pie’s Beau­fort of­fers mesh vents and boasts a 40 to 50 UPF rat­ing.

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